CMS Migration Update is a weekly digest of news and other information related to national and international migration.  It is designed to educate faith leaders regarding vulnerable immigrant populations, developments in the immigration field, pastoral resources and the religious touchstones of diverse faith traditions on migrants and newcomers. It should not be relied upon to provide advice or counsel in immigration cases. The publication is provided by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), an educational institute/think-tank devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and newcomers. CMS is a member of the Scalabrini International Migration Network, an international network of shelters, welcoming centers, and other ministries for migrants.
Thomas J. Shea
Rachel Reyes
Director of Communications
April 11, 2017

How Pope Francis is Leading the Catholic Church Against Anti-Migrant Populism

Washington Post (April 10, 2017)
As Pope Francis continues to prioritize migrants on his agenda, Catholic cardinals, bishops, and priests are emerging as some of the most influential opponents to anti-immigration policies being pushed by right-wing populists in the United States and Europe. Many individual bishops in the United States have sharply criticized President Donald Trump’s migrant policies since his election, including: Newark Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin and Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez who both condemned Trump’s executive orders on immigration; and Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich who ordered priests to turn away federal immigration authorities and call the archdiocese’s lawyers should officers attempt to enter churches without a warrant in search of undocumented migrants. Pope Francis has avoided direct criticism of Trump, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, and other populist leaders, but some sources say the Holy Father is seeking to counter anti-migrant policies by appealing directly to voters. Fr. Michael Czerny, Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, stated, “Mr. Trump or Ms. Le Pen are not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the fear, selfishness and shortsightedness that motivate people to support them.” While US Catholics overall tend to be generally supportive of migrant rights, the November election revealed a political divide along racial and ethnic lines: 60 percent of white Catholics supported Trump and 67 percent of Hispanic Catholics backed Clinton, according to exit polls.
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Francis Appeals for an “End to the Causes of Forced Migrations”

Zenit (April 7, 2017)
Pope Francis spoke with Libertacivili, an immigration newsletter from the Italian Ministry of Interior, on responding to migrant crises. In the interview, he stated, "We must not lose the sense of fraternal responsibility. The defense of the human being knows no barriers; we are all united in wanting to guarantee a fitting life to every man, woman [and] child constrained to abandon his own land. There is no difference of creed that can oppose this will." He also urged government leaders to be farsighted and cohesive in addressing the factors that force migrants to leave their home countries. The article notes that the Church's commitment to migrants is evidenced by the creation of the Section of Migrants and Refugees within the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The Section’s mission “is to support the Church and Pastors – at the local, regional, and international level – in the accompaniment of persons at every stage of the migratory process, with particular care of those that, in different ways are constrained to get married or flee, and who live hardships and suffering in the countries of origin, transit and destination."
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Three More Syrian Families are Guests of the Vatican

Zenit (April 4, 2017)
Starting in late 2015, the Vatican began hosting a few refugee families after Pope Francis called on every parish, religious community, monastery and shrine in Europe to take in refugees. On April 3, 2017, the Apostolic Almoner, the parish community of St. Anna in the Vatican which carries out acts of charity on behalf of Pope Francis, reported that three families from Syria were housed in Vatican-owned apartments. Two of the families are Christian and reportedly suffered kidnappings and discrimination in Syria because their faith. The third family is Muslim. Volunteers will assist the Syrian families integrate by helping them learn the Italian language and “ensuring an adequate reception in parishes, communities and associations.”
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Pope Francis’ Appeal: Act with Determination to Eradicate Trafficking of Persons

Zenit (April 4, 2017)
Last week, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held its 17th Conference against the Trafficking in Persons in Vienna, Austria. Fr. Michael Czerny, Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read a message from Pope Francis. In his statement, Pope Francis called for the eradication of human trafficking, "which represents one of the most shameful phenomena that disfigures the face of modern humanity...[and] is a form of slavery, a crime against humanity, a grave violation of human rights, an atrocious sore, which must be condemned even more so when it involves children." In his intervention, Fr. Czerny emphasized three points: preventing trafficking; protecting victims of trafficking, and prosecuting the traffickers "because the human person, with his inestimable value, is at stake."
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Dems Winning Fight Over Wall

The Hill (April 9, 2017)
GOP Congressional leaders are expected to exclude from the spending bill the $1.4 billion requested by President Trump to pay for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. The move is reportedly in response to fears that building the wall is too expensive, that it will harm diplomatic relations with Mexico, and that it will disrupt communities along the US-Mexico border. Estimates for the cost of constructing the wall range from $22 billion to $40 billion. The Democrats in Congress are reportedly united in their opposition to allocating money for the wall. And GOP leaders are concerned that including funding for the wall will motivate opponents to stop the spending bill, leading to a government shutdown. Funding for the wall is expected to be addressed in September 2017 when Congress will consider funding for the next fiscal year.
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Mother of Four to Be Deported to Mexico in Sign of Trump Policy Shift

The Guardian (April 6, 2017)
Fifteen years ago, Maribel Trujillo left her home in Michoacán, Mexico to seek a better life in the United States. She is now married and the mother of four US citizen children ages 3, 10, 12, and 14 – two of whom have medical problems. Although Ms. Trujillo has no criminal record, has been an otherwise law-abiding resident, and received work authorization this past year, she was recently arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because she is undocumented. She is scheduled to be deported to Mexico on April 11, 2017. Ms. Trujillo's arrest, detention, and imminent deportation illustrates a new willingness by ICE "to pick up individuals who were regarded by the previous administration as of such low priority that it would inflict more harm than good on communities to wrench them from their families." Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), stated that the Trump administration's focus on Ms. Trujillo's case "is not the kind of targeted removal of criminals that the administration says it is doing. Maribel is the opposite of a flight risk or a danger to society, she is a vital part of her community." The Archdiocese of Cincinnati issued a statement denouncing Ms. Trujillo’s deportation and urging people to contact Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Governor John Kasich to request her release. 
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Trump Can Wear Down Sanctuary Cities

Bloomberg View (April 2, 2017)
In this editorial, Francis Wilkinson writes that, although the Sanctuary movement is strongly driven by moral values, it nevertheless rests on shaky political ground. According to Wilkinson, the movement is able to show how Trump's deportation regime is largely indiscriminate and inhumane, and how it offers no evidence of how deportation makes the country safe or saves American jobs. However, Trump "is an able and unashamed propagandist who will make the most of his opportunities" to shape the public perception of immigrants negatively. Wilkinson writes that Americans generally "are sympathetic to undocumented immigrants, but not to undocumented 'criminals.'" Therefore, while advocates in the sanctuary movement will continue to highlight sympathetic immigrant stories, Trump has the time and vast resources to focus the public’s attention on criminal immigrants to advance his agenda to deport all undocumented immigrants.
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Claiming ‘Sanctuary’ in the Current Immigration Climate

Catholic News Service (April 7, 2017)
Kevin Appleby, CMS’s senior policy director of international migration policy, states that declaring a place a sanctuary space is “a signal to immigrants that they can come there and feel protected although in truth, they aren’t.” Ultimately, if law enforcement has probable cause to arrest a non-citizen located in a church or sanctuary location, they can enter the property to do so. Appleby warns that publicly declaring sanctuary could make the place a “target for ICE.”
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Cholera Stalks ‘Refugee Islands’ in Swamplands of South Sudan

Refugees Deeply (April 5, 2017)
Once a commercial trading island with only 200 inhabitants, South Sudan's tiny island of Tayar has become home to 2,300 internally displaced persons fleeing the country’s three-year civil war. Because Tayar does not have running water or toilets, people are defecating in the swamps. Inhabitants use that same water for cooking. As a result, cholera – a disease that causes severe diarrhea and kills through dehydration – has broken out and spread throughout the island. Humanitarian agencies are having difficulty traveling to areas where people need help because they must negotiate access with armed factions. Furthermore, with the dry season expected to end in May, it is now a race against time to eradicate the water-borne disease before the rainy season starts.
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Canada Has a Plan to Stop Qualified Immigrant Doctors from Driving Taxis

National Observer (April 6, 2017)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will commit $27.5 million over a five-year period on an employment program to help new Canadians find work that matches their qualifications. The Canadian government is looking to help immigrants find work in their professional field instead of taking "survival jobs" to help pay the bills. According to this article, "nearly 850,000 Canadians – over 60 percent of whom are immigrants – end up underemployed or unemployed because their credentials are not recognized in Canada." Ahmed Hussen, Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, stated, "We recognize that newcomers face particular challenges when they attempt to get their credentials recognized...When newcomers cannot succeed, it's a great loss to them because they can't fulfill their potential, but it's also a great loss to our country because we need their contributions, their skills, and we need them to work at their full potential in their chosen fields." The program should help, for example, someone who is a doctor in their native country to access loans in Canada to help pay for application and exam fees needed to get certification and licenses to work as a doctor in Canada. The professionals must still undergo vetting in Canada to prove their credentials.
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The US Senate and the US House of Representatives have adjourned for two weeks to observe the Easter and Passover holidays. They will return the week of April 24, 2017.

Upon its return, Congress will be faced with an April 28 deadline to pass a continuing budget resolution to keep the government operating until an omnibus budget reconciliation bill can be adopted. Congressional leaders have indicated that funding for a border wall will not be considered in the current budget or in a supplemental appropriations bill submitted by the Administration. The Democratic minority has vowed to block such funding.

In a hearing last week before the US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly testified that a border wall would not be constructed from “sea to shining sea,” as promised by President Trump. He stated that a combination of barriers, fencing, technology, and manpower would be used to “secure” the border.

He also testified, under questioning by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), that DHS would not separate mothers from children at the border, unless a mother was “sick.” Pressed by Senator Harris to issue policy guidance in writing, Kelly responded that he had “verbally” directed DHS enforcement not to separate mothers from their children.

On April 5, 2017, DHS announced that 16,600 persons had been apprehended at the southern border during March, a 64 percent drop from a year ago and a 35 percent drop from the previous month. The Administration attributed the drop to its immigration policies, although experts have stated that a multitude of factors could be at play.

On April 7, 2017, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, after only one week, it reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 cap on H-1B nonimmigrant visas to foreign-born workers in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. On April 3, 2017, DHS also announced that it would reform the program to reduce abuse and fraud.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) introduced legislation (S. 845) last week to prevent DHS from entering sensitive locations – schools, courthouses, and churches – for enforcement purposes. The bill comes in response to reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have taken persons into custody around such locations.



Citizenship after Trump

Peter Spiro
Peter Spiro, Charles R. Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University writes that, while US citizenship policy did not feature prominently in Trump’s presidential campaign, his election will accelerate broader challenges to citizenship as an institution. Spiro writes that, domestically, citizenship is far less reflective of social solidarities than in the past and that, internationally, citizenship is becoming increasingly instrumentalized; i.e., adopted to obtain certain benefits, advantages and protections.
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Redefining American Families: The Disparate Effects of IIRIRA’s Automatic Bars to Reentry and Sponsorship Requirements on Mixed-Citizenship Couples

Jane Lilly López
With passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), the goal of discouraging illegal immigration and the legal immigration of the poor triumphed over the longstanding goal of family unity in US immigration policy. Two specific elements of IIRIRA — (1) the three- and 10-year bars to reentry, and (2) the minimum income thresholds for citizen sponsors of immigrants — have created a hierarchy of mixed-citizenship families, enabling some to access all US citizenship benefits, while excluding other, similar families from those same benefits. This paper describes these two key policy changes imposed by IIRIRA and describes their disparate impact on mixed-citizenship couples seeking family reunification benefits. Policy recommendations include enacting changes to: (1) allow the undocumented spouses of US citizens to adjust their legal status from within the United States; and (2) include the noncitizen spouse’s income earning potential toward satisfying minimum income requirements.
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The Growing Threat to the US Asylum System: An Analysis of the Trump Administration’s Expansion of Detention and Expedited Removal

Jeanne Atkinson
Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC’s executive director, examines the Trump Administration’s planned expansion of detention and expedited removal. While the administration justifies the measures as necessary to protect the nation, Atkinson writes that they instead offend the rule of law by stripping due process from the removal adjudication system, placing immigrants in dehumanizing detention centers, and returning bona fide asylum-seekers to situations of persecution and violence.
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Center for Migration Studies Announces Jamie Winders as New Editor of the International Migration Review

CMS is pleased to announce the appointment of Jamie Winders as editor of the International Migration Review (IMR), the premier social science journal in the field of international migration, ethnic group relations, and refugee movements. Professor Winders is O’Hanley Faculty Scholar and chair of the department of geography in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She will be replacing Douglas Gurak, professor emeritus of development sociology at Cornell University, in October 2017. CMS is also extremely grateful to Prof. Gurak for his excellent and devoted work as editor of IMR.
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If you are a migrant or pastoral worker and wish to submit an article or reflection to the CMS Migration Update, please email Tom Shea at

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